Frozen food makers plan to launch their first national television advertisement in defense of their products today as the industry fights to boost slipping sales.
The ad will include the tag line “Frozen: How Fresh Stays Fresh” and is intended to address negative misconceptions people have about frozen foods.
It’s part of a marketing campaign being funded by the American Frozen Food Institute, an industry group that represents companies including Nestle, which makes Hot Pockets and Lean Cuisine, and ConAgra, which makes Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s.
Nestle has a Prepared Foods Division based in the Cleveland suburb of Solon.
The push comes as frozen food sales have been hurt by a move toward fresh or natural products.
Although frozen vegetables are often touted as being just as wholesome as their fresh counterparts, frozen meals and snacks are widely seen as being full of sodium and preservatives, or lacking in taste.
Between 2009 and last year, U.S. sales of frozen meals are down 3 percent at $8.92 billion, according to Euromonitor International. And this year, the market researcher is forecasting a decline of an additional 2 percent.
Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, disclosed that the group plans to invest as much as $90 million in the campaign over three years.
“This is a long-term strategy. The primary purpose is to enter into a dialogue with consumers,” he said.
In the 30-second commercial set to run on cable and network TV, a voiceover states that “freezing is nature’s pause button.” It also asks viewers to take a “fresh look at frozen,” as images of appealing foods that were apparently once frozen are shown.
The campaign is tapping registered dietitian and author Keri Glassman to talk about the benefits of frozen foods in public appearances.